Locating Tsunamis before they happen

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Buddha12, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

    Wouldn't that be the best idea to find where there is a earthquake that is about to happen then premature trigger it so that it would dissipate some of its devastation before it became a much bigger problem when the pressure really builds up. Locating this would be using some sort of either ground penetrating radar or small shock waves that show where the fault lines are located when they bounce back from the underground ares they reflect off of.:shrug:
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  3. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

    We have some idea of the fault lines, but it's where they'll release the energy that's the unknown. The problems with your idea are, we don't always know where the stress is building, particularly underwater, and even if we could generate enough energy to cause a man-made break to relieve that pressure, it might move to the next area that's "stuck".

    The energy stored in crustal plates is enormous though. Just think, it's enough to displace a tidal wave of ocean from deep underwater across to other continents. And it takes that energy to make the plate materials slip and/or give way.
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  5. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    In addition to what Rhaedas said, which gives you the scale of the problem, consider this:

    Ground penetrating radar doesn't get more than a few feet beneath the surface, and radar won't penetrate the oceans to the seafloor. Sonar is used to measure the depth to the seafloor, and the process for finding oil involves creating small earthquakes and measuring the reflections to find faults.

    None of those methods go deep enough to predict earthquakes. The oil-survey techniques con't be done in real time without introducing continuous explosions over huge areas. This would do more damage than earthquake-tsunamis and deplete the world energy supply without producing meaningful results.

    For these reasons tsunami prediction has to rely on detecting the seafloor quake, locating it, identifying the areas at risk, and sounding the alarms in those areas so people can try to get to higher ground.
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  7. arauca Banned Banned


    If I understand you . you would like to use technique similar as to prevent snow avalanche , because tsunami takes can be a under water avalanche and specially if there is an abrupt cliff.
    If you use a technique in avalanche then you will create tsunami ?
  8. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

    This link is a better way to map under the sea floor. It uses a plane to tow a device but a ship can do the same thing for underwater mapping.


    But better mapping can give us more data on where pressure build ups are starting to be able to address those before they start a quake.

    That's where I think we could release the pressure build up so that a catastrophic earthquake can be prevented but a small one might happen. It would be better to relieve the pressure rather than let it build up over the years until it finally creates a Tsunami.
  9. spockster Registered Member

    interesting idea, especially relevant to east cost of US (a big one is bound to happen this century) slightly unrelated note: after the Tsunami in Thailand they put seismic sensors and people are warned with blaring alarms about an impending tsunami 30 minutes in advance (pretty neat)
  10. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Lets say we do find a way to tell where a little stress relief might help out. Exactly how would we go about doing it? I don't believe anybody would think atomics was a good idea, and it's hard for me to think anything less would get the job done.

    Next, what about the tsunamis that are created from mega landslides? Isn't there a volcanic island in the Atlantic that has the potential to create the biggest super tsunami ever seen by humans in all of history? How would you suggest that problem be handled?
  11. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

    First of all some simulation programs could be made to show us what will happen if certain things are done to prevent the tsunami from happening or if something could lessen its strength somehow. I also don't think atomics would be needed but some type of explosive charge would be to set off a reaction that would reduce its size or prevent it all together.

    As for mudslides again they could set off a charge as they do with snow to trigger the slide early so that it won't build up to the degree that it could create more damages. But the key here, to me, is to start making the simulations that will enable us to better understand the dynamics of what will happen if we do anything at all. By making simulations we can determine if this will even work at all or how much explosives will be needed and where they should be placed. Since I'm not capable of doing such programming I'm hopeful someone out there might be and use this idea.
  12. Epictetus here & now Registered Senior Member

    Rhaedas has answered your question well OP Buddha, but I might add that we just don't know enough. Re: The Great Tsunami of 2004 had geologists studying the area like mad. Their conclusion: another great earthquake will definitely occur. Public response: Oh! When? When? Geologists: within the next 25,000 years.

    Have you also noticed when noticeable and newsworthy earthquakes occur, the epicenter will be reported at X miles/kilometers below the surface? Usually its anywhere between four and eighty, although all sorts of depths are possible. But think of that 80 miles below the surface!

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    Even if one is a geologist specializing in earthquakes, who ever thinks about such places? Pressure areas 80 miles beneath, perhaps, the seafloor, a hundred miles out to sea!

    No earthquakes are not within our scope of control and prevention, my friend
  13. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

    Couldn't seismographs be placed on the sea floor to register the movement of the underlying ground to watch for the signals of different waves or vibrations? They do that now above ground and can tell when certain waves are formed and by determining what those waves actual mean would be helpful in understanding how earthquakes start as they are learning about today.
  14. Epictetus here & now Registered Senior Member

    Who's gonna bell the cat?

    Again, the world is just too big a place. What is the seismographs range of reception? How deep below the earth/seafloor's surface is the temblor's epicenter? How to place the seismographs on the seafloor? How will the transmission signal from the seismograph be received? Steady? Clearly? Dependable? What if it malfunctions and needs to be replaced?

    Then, what if the seismograph does warn us of an impending earthquake? How much time do we have? Will people be willing to evacuate a city or an entire region, r several regions in the potential tsunami area?

    A quake in Japan can cause a tsunami in Chile!

    As far as I know, experts have no clue as to why some quakes are accompanied by a tsunami, while others of similar magnitude are not. I suppose it depends on how much water is displaced - but how do we calculate these things?

    Oh! And how much will this cost the taxpayers?

    Sorry Buddha, your heart is in the right place, but it ain't gonna happen. :bawl:
  15. Hipparchia Registered Senior Member

    I think, as several have said, that the complexity and hence the cost of sensing stress build up or of detecting very minor quakes that may be precursors of a major one, are at or just beyond the limit of our present capabilities.

    To trigger an earthquake by explosive means is utterly beyond our capacity at present. I think it would take several generations of research for us to figure out how to do that. There is though an option that might be feasible. Plate movement is not wholly by the eye catching catastrophic earthquake. A lot of it is by slow gradual movement or creep. This is true in bulk and along fault planes. This could be facilitated by injection of water along the fault planes to lubricate the contacts so blocks could slide past each other more readily. This would mean movement on any individual quake would be less and that in some cases the quake could be eliminated entirely.

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